Tuesday 5 March, 7.30pm
An empowering debut novel about a young woman’s journey to accepting her deaf identity, exploring the hidden history of the deaf community in the invention of the telephone.
There will be a BSL interpreter at this event.
About the author:
Sarah Marsh was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish prize in 2019 and selected for the London Library Emerging Writers programme in 2020. A Sign of Her Own is her first novel, inspired by her experiences of growing up deaf and her family’s history of deafness. She lives in London.
About the book:
Ellen Lark is on the verge of marriage when she and her fiancé receive an unexpected visit from Alexander Graham Bell.
While her fiancé is eager to make a potentially lucrative acquaintance, Ellen knows what Bell really wants from her. Ellen is deaf, and for a time was Bell’s student in a technique called Visible Speech. As he instructed her in speaking, Bell also confided in her about his dream of producing a device which would transmit the human voice along a wire: the telephone. Now, on the cusp of wealth and renown, Bell wants Ellen to speak up in support of his claim to the patent to the telephone, which is being challenged by rivals.
But Ellen has a different story to tell: that of how Bell betrayed her, and other deaf pupils, in pursuit of ambition and personal gain, and cut Ellen off from a community in which she had come to feel truly at home. It is a story no one around Ellen seems to want to hear – but there may never be a more important time for her to tell it.
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